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Photograph of Southern Pacific Locomotive Engineers Albert L and Albert T Bartz Union Station El Paso Texas
Albert L. Bartz and son, Albert T. Bartz -- Locomotive engineers, Southern Pacific Co.
Arrival of the Golden State Limited, Union Station, El Paso, Texas, 1950

A Depot Symphony
Copyright 2022, by The Westbound Stage
(Allegro Moderato, I think)

For explanations, hover over any GREEN text.
Listen to the tick and tock,
Rhythm from a lazy clock.
Counting off my working years,
Playing music in my ears.

Give the order board a yank,
Hear it creak, and moan, and clank.
Ringing from the city 'phone
Echoes with a mellow tone.

Distant whistle, click, and clack,
Varnish coming down the track.
Grab a hoop and clearance form.
Clear the board and brave the storm.

Huff and chuff and groan and hiss,
Hoist it high, so 'E' won't miss.
Clearance, orders, one to spare --
Now, "E's" puttin' on the air.

"Something here is not complete!"
Harmonize the 'C' and 'E.'
Now, my ticker skips a beat
Of the Depot Symphony.

Strike a match, then drip, and stamp,
Press it while the wax is damp.
Screen door creaks, and then a slam,
Time to send a telegram.

Syncopate and pound the brass,
Resonate the sounder's sass,
Now, another click and clatter,
"25" with DS chatter.

I can't read a music sheet.
Any maestro would agree.
Neither is a waltz as sweet
As a Depot Symphony.

So, enjoy your hi-fi sound,
Conversation has been drowned.
Play your rock 'n rollin' toys,
With their wild gyrating noise.

Just give me an order shack
Down along some lonely track.
There's a train! You'd best get on!
Must be yours, 'cause mine is gone.

When OS'ed by heaven's bay,
I'll know there's a place for me
As I hear the Agent play
That old Depot Symphony.
                                                (James Lynn Bartz)
* * * 73 * * *

A Book About Railroad Depots

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Print by Howard Fogg of Freight Train passing Picacho Peak Arizona
Print by Howard Fogg
Other works by Howard Fogg

Railroader's Advice
Copyright 2018, by The Westbound Stage

These words were spoken by my Dad:
"You stay in school, get that degree!
Although the railroad isn't bad
Who wants to work long nights like me?"

So now, I close my business deals
In coat and tie, while there's still light.
Yet, long for yards of rails and wheels
Where trains roar out into the night.

I tell my son: "Go work on rails,
Don't be an educated fool,
Obey the call of cinder trails,
(When you get out of medical school!)"
                                                (James Lynn Bartz)
* * * * *

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